Friday, March 31, 2023

March 2023 Doings!

Hello, everyone! Spring is officially here, huzzah! And March is somehow at an end, which means it's time for a new Doings! post. But before we get into the body of the post, I have a quick housekeeping announcement: I will be taking a hiatus from blogging for the month of April. This isn't for Camp NaNoWriMo (though I will be writing a lot); I just have a lot on my plate, and I know it'll be a busy month. So, I'm taking a little blogging break while I can.


  • My most exciting writing news of the month: as some of you may remember, back in January, I wrote and submitted a story for the Fellowship of Fantasy's magical dogs anthology. You may also recall that I was concerned about whether or not the editors would go for it . . . but as it turns out, they did go for it, and at the start of March, I got an email saying that my story, "Grim Guardian," had been accepted into the anthology! As you might expect, I am absolutely thrilled to be a part of the collection, and I can't wait to be able to share more about the story with y'all. There's going to be a cover reveal in early May, so keep your eyes out for that.
  • In other news, I once again spent my month primarily focused, writing-wise, on my semi-secret selkie Little Mermaid story. Progress on this has been slower than I'd like, due to stress, technology problems, other demands on my time, and the fact that I was trying to muddle through a gap in my outline. There were several weeks this month when I felt like I was barely writing anything. Still, words are going on the page, and I'm pleased with enough of them that I'm not too discouraged.
  • On the D&D front, I did finally solve my Pelennor Fields/"What's going on with Gondor & Denethor" problem, thanks in no small part to some help from various friends. I'm happy with where I ended up on that, though we'll have to see how things actually play out. Running the actual battle of Pelennor Fields went well, and we actually got to play it on March 25 (which Lord of the Rings fans will know is a significant day) — it's not quite as cool as actually finishing the LOTR story in that session would've been, but I'll take what I can get.


  • This month was a mixed bag in many ways, but it was a really good reading month. It also involved a lot of rereads; I'll let you draw your own conclusions as to whether or not those things are connected.
  • But first, the things that weren't rereads! Dark Clouds by Suzannah Rowntree was definitely the highlight here. I reviewed the book last week, but in short, it was an absolute delight, especially if you're an enjoyer of Leverage, Grand Duke Vasily (or characters of his particular type), or both. Ten out of ten, will look forward to rereading.
  • My other few new-to-me reads were ok, but not nearly as memorable. The Maiden Ship had some fun seafaring adventure to it, but didn't particularly wow me; I'm undecided about whether or not I'll continue the series. I also read another volume of Fullmetal Alchemist, which I think I would have enjoyed more had it not been so long since I read the previous installment. Finally, I started one Pratchett read for March Magics: The Shepherd's Crown, the final Discworld book and one of the only two books in the series I hadn't read. At this point, I'm not quite halfway through and am having decidedly mixed feelings. The first several chapters felt extremely under-polished, though the story picked up around Chapter 6 or 7. On one hand, it's not uncommon for me to be iffy about a Pratchett book in the beginning but quite pleased with it by the end. On the other hand, I've been a little meh about all the Discworld books past Making Money. So . . . we'll see.
  • Moving on, we have abundant rereads! My favorite of these was, unsurprisingly, The Goblin Emperor, which I technically read because I wanted to study how the author used some particular elements of language as worldbuilding, and not because I've been itching to reread it since Christmas . . . but I definitely was not disappointed by it the second time around. And I still absolutely love Maia.
  • I also enjoyed rereading the Lockwood & Co series. While I haven't watched the show (it's on Netflix, which I'm not interested in paying for), I have seen a lot of fandom posts from people who have seen the show and decided to just revisit the story in the way that was available to me. I have to say, the last two books are much more enjoyable when you read the full series straight in a row and don't have to try to remember what people are talking about.
  • As for my remaining rereads, I'm still reading The Lord of the Rings via email newsletter, which has been both enjoyable and helpful for D&D writing. It was also a bit interesting because I had about a week when I was technically reading The Two Towers and The Return of the King at the same time, but at this point, Two Towers is finished, and Return of the King is nearly so. And I also reread Mixed Magics towards the beginning of the month because I needed something short and I hadn't read it in a while. I have to say, I basically did not remember anything about any of the stories in it, but that wasn't a terrible thing.


  • Not a lot for this category, but I did finally watch Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, so that was fun! Out of the two Indiana Jones movies I've watched (I skipped 2 and don't know if I'll watch 4), this one was definitely my favorite. It has adventure, puzzles, traps, near-death experiences, villains you're pleased to see fail, and a Grail Quest — what else could you ask for? And, as the cherry on top, instead of focusing on romance as the primary side plot, we have a father-and-son relationship to anchor the human side of the story. It's great. And, yes, everyone else already knew this, but the fact that I'm very late to the party doesn't mean I'm not going to enjoy the party.
  • And . . . yeah. That's pretty much it. I wanted to watch more Leverage, but every time I thought I was going to have time, something else either took longer than expected or otherwise got in the way. Alas.


  • For a few months now, I've been referencing a Big Thing I’m Not Talking About Yet and promising that I'll actually tell y'all what it is in the next Doings post, mostly because I wasn't sure if the thing was going to work out. But at this point, I think it is going to work without killing either me or my writing career, which means I'm not going to put y'all off another month and will instead say: I have started grad school, specifically an online master's program in Professional Writing.
  • I was supposed to start in January, but I wanted to buy some extra writing time and the university I'm doing the program through has three sub-terms per semester (with the middle one overlapping the other two), so I decided to push things back and start in February instead. And then, as mentioned in my February Doings, I had one good well, one awful week, and one neutral-ish week. Thankfully, the awful week was more or less a fluke — a combination of unclear instructions and outside stressors — and the only really bad week I've had since was the one in which tech issues struck the week of my largest project for my first class — which also happened to be the first week in which I had overlapping classes. But, again, that was a combination of outside stress and uncertainty about how to approach a particular assignment, and to be frank, it wouldn't have been a good week even if I only had writing and work on my plate. So, yes. This is a thing that's happening, and it's going reasonably well.
  • Ok, what else happened this month? My sister came home for spring break at the start of the month, and getting to see her and hang out with her was fun. She did have a cold for about half the week, so we didn't get to do as much stuff as I might've hoped, but it was still very nice to have her at home for a little while. Then we finished that week by driving up to Pennsylvania to see my grandpa, which was also nice.
  • We also celebrated Pi Day, of course! My mom made spaghetti pie for dinner and apple pie (pictured above) for dessert, and both were absolutely delicious.
  • My adventures in embroidery continue, as I finished the first script-based piece (aside from washing away the stabilizer and figuring out how I want to display the piece) and have started on a second. This new one is a bit of fanart for The Dark King's Curse, and I'm generally pleased with how it's turning out. Once it's finished, I'll probably post a picture, unless I decide to wait until I've made a second version. I have, in the process, learned that I don't like doing stem stitch for lettering and that shorter text is better than longer text, so, yeah.
  • On the baking front, I made a coconut cake for the birthday of one of the pastors at work. It's the special recipe of my former supervisor who retired, and it was also a favorite of that particular pastor, so I was excited to get to share it and see how I did. Thankfully, everyone liked it. (I wasn't worried, to be clear. I made it last year for Easter, so I know it's good. But it's the context, y'know?)
  • On the topic of work, things have definitely been busy there. Most of that is preparation for Holy Week, but we've also been adjusting the way we do some things and introducing some new event types, so that's been interesting. This has also been a month of tech troubles, some of which fell at the same time as my personal technology problems, so that's not been ideal. But, you know, busy is better than bored, and I've had the opportunity to work on some fun projects and pieces, so I'm not complaining.
  • Oh, and D&D is going! In the campaign I've been in since I was in college, the group is rediscovering how much we struggle when a particular character (the sorcerer, also our de-facto leader by virtue of being good at coming up with plans) isn't around, as we've split the party to scope out an enemy's headquarters and rescue my character's sister at the same time. I've also been playing in another once-a-month campaign through my library, which has been interesting. I'm playing a Tabaxi conjuration wizard, and she's fun, though I'm still adjusting to the dynamic of the new group.
  • Otherwise, I've mostly been appreciating the warmer weather (even if I'm not spending much time outside) and all the flowers blooming in our yard. I've been able to skip a coat in favor of just a fleece jacket quite a few days this month, so I am quite pleased with that. (And I will be more pleased still once I can get down to a cardigan and short sleeves!)

April Plans

  • The first week of Easter is Holy Week, which will be very busy. Not as busy as last year, thank goodness, but still not a week in which I anticipate having much downtime, especially since I also have multiple social events (a Mid-Atlantic Realm Writers meeting and a Connect Group meeting) happening in the evening during that week. Plus, it's the last week in which I'll have overlapping grad school classes. After Holy Week, though, I think things should calm down quite a bit. And I am looking forward to Easter and my Bible study's annual celebration.
  • My creative writing focus will continue to be on my selkie story first and my D&D campaign second, as those have the most pressing deadlines. I'd like to get back to work on BDPI #4 sometime soon, but . . . priorities.
  • I'll also be doing research for my grad school class and writing a paper based on said research. My plan is to investigate a possible aspect of why certain people do and don't like to listen to music or other background noise while writing. This is actually a question that piqued my interest back in 2020, enough so that I ran a survey about it, but I didn't have sufficient motivation to do anything with the results of that survey . . . until now.
  • On the reading front, I suspect it'll be mood reads all the way down. Well, that and catching up on beta reading, on which I am horrendously behind. I do apologize to anyone reading this to whom I owe beta comments — though, in my defense, I've been just a little bit busy.
  • (Side note: I just discovered that my natural inclination is to spell "apologize" the British way, with an "s" instead of a "z." My best guess is that it's caused by the fact that I've been reading a lot of books by British and Aussie writers these last few months?)
  • I think that about covers all the important things. And if I forgot it, well, it probably wasn't that important.

How was your March? What are you looking forward to in April? Would you rather be busy or bored? Also, if you're a Discworld fan, what are your thoughts on the last four books in the series? Please tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!

Friday, March 24, 2023

You Should Definitely Read Dark Clouds If . . .

Good morning, everyone! Last week, I spotlighted the spring 2023 releases I'm most excited about, and today I'm back with a review of one of those new releases: Dark Clouds, book 2 in Miss Dark's Apparitions, a spinoff of Suzannah Rowntree's fabulous historical fantasy mystery series, Miss Sharp's Monsters. The Miss Dark series follows Miss Molly Dark, a young lady-turned-con-artist with the ability to see ghostly "imprints." Book One saw Miss Dark roped into a scheme to defraud monstrous royalty of a fortune by impersonating a long-lost princess; now our heroine has found herself a member of a group of thieves and schemers attempting to use their talents to set right some of the wrongs in the world — in this case, by stealing a cursed diamond to return to its rightful owners. The book just released yesterday, March 23, and is available on Kindle and possibly elsewhere. But I managed to score an ARC, so if you're on the fence about picking it up, I have five reasons why you absolutely should.

You Should Definitely Read Dark Clouds If . . .

  1. You're a Leverage fan who occasionally thinks the show would be even better if it involved some literal monsters, not just figurative ones. Rowntree bills Dark Clouds as "perfect for fans of Leverage and The Parasol Protectorate," and the first half of that description couldn't be more accurate. Reading this feels very much like watching an episode of the show, from the grand heist to set right a wrong committed by those too powerful to be prosecuted by normal means to the schemes and twists involved in carrying out that heist. Let me tell you, it's an absolute delight. Of course, even if you're not a Leverage fan, if you enjoy a good heist and a plot driven by clever characters fully exercising their cleverness, you'll still love this. Plus, the antagonist of this book — Vandergriff, an American "prosthete" (read: gaslamp-era cyborg) multi-millionaire who tracks down jewel thieves as a hobby — is simply excellent, with just the right blend of rough charm, casual menace, and keen wit to make him a formidable, but intriguing, opponent and a very interesting change of pace from Rowntree's usual antagonists in this world.
  2. You know that it's the team (and their dynamics) that makes the heist. It's the characters that make or break a book, and that's never more true than when it comes to a heist story. I can think of multiple books where an excellent concept and thrilling scheme fell flat because the characters and the dynamics between them just weren't working. The key, of course, is that the team has to be a team — yes, they have their differences in opinion and agenda as well as skill set, they have clashes of personality and motive. But when the chips are down and the heat is on, they're working together, and they know and understand each other well enough to do that. And yes, maybe you have an edge or two of potential betrayal, just for spice, but in order for the reader to care, in order to get maximum impact when the potential traitor makes their choice, you have to have that strong team dynamic. Rowntree knows this, and she clearly gives plenty of care to developing both the characters and their dynamics, especially now that they really are starting to work as a properly intentional team, rather than the more tentative alliances in Tall and Dark.
  3. You want to see more of our favorite Grand Disaster Duke. As already stated, all the characters get some magnificent development in this story, but I particularly want to call out Vasily here. He continues to be a mess, caught between the monster that he's been and the person who he could be, between the self-serving lifestyle he still tries to maintain and a reluctant attachment to the other members of the crew. He's growing, but reluctantly — partially because he's surrounded by people who aren't taken in by his act. And, of course, his interactions with Miss Molly Dark are an absolute delight. He's coming around to caring very much for her, I daresay, even if he sometimes has an unusual way of showing it, and I don't think he entirely wants to admit just how far it goes. Plus, having a rival/nemesis in the form of the aforementioned Vandergriff makes for some very interesting dynamics and interactions.
  4. You love sibling and family dynamics. Dark Clouds takes place in London, Molly's home . . . and the home of her sisters, who she loves and would very much like to keep far away from any schemes, heists, and similar. You can probably guess about how well that goes. But it was a delight to see Molly interacting with her sisters, to see how much she cares about them and they care for her. And as for the interactions between the sisters and Molly's new friends, well . . . let's just say that they make for some of my favorite chapters in the book.
  5. You enjoy stories about the tension between different cultures. Not solely about, mind you — this is a heist adventure. But it's also set in England during the Victorian Era, when the British Empire was at its height, and the cursed diamond at the story's center is part of the rather ill-gotten spoils of conquest. And retrieving that diamond requires one of the team, Nijam, to come to terms with a heritage that she's spent most of her life despising. Rowntree handles these elements of the plot well, using them to deepen the story without drowning it and providing a read that's enjoyable in the moment and gives you something to chew on later.

Tall and Dark came out just this past weekend — have you read it yet? Are you going to read it? If you're a fellow Miss Sharp fan, how excited are you to return to this world? Please tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!

Friday, March 17, 2023

Spring 2023 Reads!

Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone! Spring is nearly here, and that means it's time for another roundup of newly-releasing reads. This season's list is very much dominated by a particular author, but it also has so many books that I'm excited for, so let's take a look at what we have to look forward to. As usual, I'm sharing my full list here, but if you want the short version, you can hop over to Light and Shadows.

Spring 2023 Reads

1. Dark Clouds by Suzannah Rowntree (March 23). This book releases next Thursday, but I devoured my ARC within days of receiving it, and it is SO GOOD, y'all. There's heists and humor and heart (and Leverage vibes), we get to properly meet Molly's sisters, Vasily is back and has a rival this time (in more ways than one) . . . it's pretty much everything you could possibly want in a book of this kind. Keep an eye out for my full review next week — or you can still preorder the ebook now.

2. Secret Project #2 by Brandon Sanderson (April 1). I haven't actually read the first secret project (Tress) because there were delays with the hardback and I'm waiting for that to get to my house. Nonetheless, I am excited for Secret Project #2. From what I read in the sample first chapter, it seemed pretty good. It's not the Secret Project I'm most looking forward to, since it's the only non-Cosmere one, but it should be a fun read and an interesting twist on portal fantasy. It seems Dark Lord of Derkholm-ish, but I'm hoping I'll like Sanderson's execution of the concept better than Jones's. (Dark Lord, for the record, is not my favorite DWJ book, but I do like the concept a lot.)

3. Austen Fairy Tale Box Set 1 by Kendra E. Ardnek (April 21). This isn't actually a new book, but it is a new release, so . . . I'm including it. Kendra is releasing the first three Austen Fairy Tale novels in one volume — which is currently on an ebook preorder special of $3.99, only a little more than a single installment in the series would be. If you've been eying this series, now's a great time to get three books for (basically) the price of one!

4. Behind Closed Doors by W.R. Gingell (May 15). Athelas's spinoff series continues! A Whisker Behind, the first in the series, was excellent, and I'm excited to see more of our favorite lavender-grey fae, as well as his new crop of housemates. YeoWoo is a stellar counterpart to Athelas — able to see past his facade and affectations, and delightfully straightforward even when she's scheming — and I'm also quite curious about Camellia and what she might be hiding behind her sunshine exterior. Hopefully this book will start giving us some hints on that.

5. Tide and Scale Anthology (May 16). The blurb for this anthology promises stories "filled with pirates and mermaids on journeys from the depths of the sea to the far reaches of space," so I have two reasons to be excited. The first, of course, is the possibility of space pirates (!!!), a trope that I can almost always get behind. The second is the fact that I have inside info that one Wyn Estelle Owens has a mermaid story in here, and I absolutely cannot wait to read it.

6. Snow Quest Like Home by Kendra E. Ardnek (May 22). After a few years away, we're returning to Bookania! Snow Quest is the first release in Kendra's Beastly Curses solo multi-release (because releasing five of your own retellings of the same fairytale at once is probably the ultimate Kendra E. Ardnek move). It combines The Snow Queen with Beauty and the Beast and a few other tales, and it shifts the spotlight from Robin and Eric to Samson, Madeleine, and Push Au Kim — though, never fear, our original heroes still have their parts to play. I think Snow Queen and Beauty and the Beast are a highly underrated pairing — the sort of mashup I wish I'd thought of myself — and I'm excited to see what Kendra does with it.

7. Fairer Than Beauty by Kendra E. Ardnek (May 23). The second Beastly Curses release! This is another of Kendra's Twists of Adventure, and it sort of combines Fairer Than a Fairy with Beauty and the Beast . . . except not exactly. I beta read this one, and I can confirm it's a pretty interesting twist on the tale of Beauty and the Beast — plus, it has a variation on the "characters know they're in a story" trope that I quite like. I'd definitely say it's worth picking up!

8. Thornrose Estate by Kendra E. Ardnek (May 26). We're skipping the third and fourth Beastly Curses releases (Superheroes Don't Prowl at Night and The Dragon) because (A) they're not on Amazon or Goodreads yet and (B) I don't know enough about either of them to be properly excited. But I am looking forward to Thornrose Estate, which blends Beauty and the Beast with Northhanger Abbey in a move that I think is quite inspired (even if it makes me worried for some of my favorite characters). But besides the merits of the story concept, I'm very eager to find out what happens next after Snowfield Palace left us in such a state of suspense!

So, yes — Suzannah Rowntree, Brandon Sanderson, W.R. Gingell, Wyn Estelle Owens, and a whole slew of Kendra E. Arndek stories all in one season? I am going to be a very happy reader, assuming all the things I need to do that aren't reading don't kill me via stress and lack of sleep. What book releases are you excited for this spring? Please tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!


Friday, March 3, 2023

February 2023 Doings!

February is over at last — thank goodness. February is rarely as bad a month as I think it'll be, but it's also never the best month, and I tend to be generally more tired and irritable during this month than most of the rest of the year, even when I actively work to get rest and keep a good attitude. But! February is over, spring begins this month, and I am actively ignoring my sister's predictions that we'll have a cold snap and possibly snow in the next month or two.


  • This has been a pretty productive writing month! I spent most of my writing time working on my semi-secret selkie story, which has a current wordcount of about 25K and a good bit of story left to go. I mentioned this project in my recent Taleweaver's Desk post, but if you missed that: the semi-secret selkie story is a roles-reversed Little Mermaid story, but, you know, with selkies instead of mermaids because selkies are infinitely cooler and I've loved them ever since I was eight-ish and discovered their existence in one of the Magic Treehouse books. And now I get to write about them! It's delightful.
  • My other main writing project was, of course, my D&D campaign. I didn't get as much done on this one as I wanted, since other things ended up taking up a lot of time, but I was able to have this month's sessions prepped on time, plus one more session's worth of material that I thought I'd use but ended up not needing.
  • The other reason I didn't do more D&D prep is that the party is about to hit Pelennor Fields . . . which means that we're also at one of the two points where the incident that started this whole LOTR adventure (the party preventing Boromir's death and Merry and Pippin's capture) has a greater impact on how the story goes. So I've been trying to work out what's going on with Gondor, specifically with Denethor and Faramir, since Boromir's still alive. It's been an interesting thing to think through, to be sure.


  • So, remember how I decided to read the entire City Between series back in January? Yeah. I stand by that as an excellent decision, but it did result in two more questionable corollary decisions . . .
  • The first of those decisions was following City Between up with Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere. Neverwhere is also a good book, but as a chaser for W.R. Gingell's magnificent series, well . . . it pales a bit. The quality of writing and language is technically a bit better, but the themes of City Between are, I think, superior — and as main characters go, Pet is decidedly preferable to Richard.
  • The second questionable decision was not so much a willful choice as a series of non-decisions, which is to say that I left off reading On Earth As It Is in Hell until kind of the last minute. I posted my review of the book a couple weeks ago, so I won't rehash those here, but in general, I thought it was a good conclusion to the series, and I enjoyed the fact that it was very family-centric, though there were a couple things I thought could have been done better.
  • Besides On Earth As It Is in Hell, I also checked a few more new releases off my to-be-read list! I started A Whisker Behind, the first City Between spinoff, on the very day it released, and I very much enjoyed it. Athelas is one of my top three favorite characters from the original series, so I was pleased to see him again and to get back to the world of Between and Behind. The vibe of the story with him at the helm is rather different than the vibe of City Between, but not at all in a bad way.
  • In addition, I read Moira's Pen, a book of short stories from the world of The Queen's Thief, and Mysteries of Thorn Manor, a sequel novella to Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson. Both were excellent; Moira's Pen had more new stories than I expected, and Thorn Manor was just a lot of fun. I love Nathaniel and Elizabeth's dynamic, and now I kind of want to reread Sorcery. Not that I have time for that . . .
  • My final new read of the month was How to Be a Good Creature by Sy Montgomery. This was my sole Blind Date read for the month — by the time I got to my library, the selection of blind date books was a bit abysmal, and every single one of the speculative fiction reads remaining had either "horror" or "LBGTQ+" as a defining characteristic, or else was something that I could easily identify as a book I'd read and didn't care to reread at the moment. So, I fell back on "Memoir, Animals, Nature, Science." The resulting book was an enjoyable read and reasonably light. I don't think it's something I'd revisit over and over again, but I'd probably consider rereading it in the future if I came across it again.
  • Finally, we have the rereads. I've been rereading The Fellowship of the Ring via email subscription since last September, and that finished at the end of February. I also reread The Last Battle because I didn't get to it last summer and I was, at the time, extremely stressed and in need of something familiar and comforting. I know, one would not think that the end of a world would be comforting, but as it turns out, a reminder that all will one day be set right is, in fact, extremely helpful when one is stressed. Also, it's Narnia.
  • Oh, and I reread Blood in the Snow because I wanted to remind myself of how particular bits went. It was enjoyable, and I was pleased to find that I still enjoyed it. Alas that I cannot get back to actually writing in that world for a while yet . . .


  • I said at the start of the year that I wanted to start doing a better job of tracking what I was watching, in the same way that I was tracking what I was reading with a Google Form, and I feel like it's been helpful. If nothing else, I have a useful record that I can go back and look at without just having to guess.
  • Not that I've had much to track, of course. Just a couple more episodes of Leverage Season 2, specifically "The Tap-Out Job" and "The Order 23 Job," both of which I really enjoyed. "The Tap-Out Job" was very Eliot-centric, and Eliot is high-key my favorite character in the show. And then "The Order 23 Job" was just exciting and twisty and had a brilliant con and so much going on that all came together brilliantly in the end . . . and also an Eliot subplot that made me quite happy. It was great.


  • For being the shortest month of the year, February is awfully long. You know what I mean?
  • Work this month was very busy — you would think that not much would happen in February, since it's usually cold and grey, but there were actually a fair number of projects and events. The month started with the Lenten newsletter — a project that I enjoy, but which takes a good bit of time — and ended with rapidly designing branding for a new workshop series so we could start promoting it on time. And in between were Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent . . . which is a two-service, two-bulletin week that happened to also fall on a short week. And I didn't actually realize this until near the end of the week before, which meant that I didn't work ahead as much as I should have. So, yeah. That was stressful.
  • This month was also the start of the Big Thing I’m Not Talking About Yet . . . which I'm sort of talking about now but am still not going to properly name because I've had one good week in it (the week of Valentine's Day), one flat-out awful, actual-tears-and-crisis-of-identity-and-self-worth week (the week of Ash Wednesday), and one week that's been half neutral and half emotional remnants from the bad week. So, I'm going to wait one more month, and in my March Doings I will either give proper details on what's up (because the bad week turned out to be a fluke) or inform y'all that it is a Thing Which Shall No More Be Spoken Of (because the bad week was the standard and what I am going to get out of it is not worth multiple years of dealing with . . . that).
  • On a more cheerful note, I finally acquired a treadmill desk! I mentioned towards the start of the year that I wanted to find ways to exercise while doing other things that aren't just watching shows, which mainly means writing/blogging/browsing the internet, and the most effective way to do that seemed to be acquiring a desk attachment for the treadmill. I've used it on and off since getting it, and I'm pretty happy with it. I haven't tried novel-writing while walking yet, but I've written other things with a fair bit of success. I don't think I could edit or do anything polished — not until I'm more practiced, at least — but for drafting, it works quite well.
  • I also got a new desk chair, which is very exciting — seriously, it is. I've spent most of my life using either spare dining room chairs or, most recently, my mom's old desk chair, and they all worked, but they tended to be lacking in the area of back support. And then last month, a review program I'm in had a really nice desk chair available for request, so I snatched it up, and it is so comfy. It reclines, y'all. So when I've been sitting long enough that my back is starting to hurt, I can take my hands off the keyboard and lean back, and it's so nice. Of course, it also has proper back support, so that helps.
  • What else? We did get snow on the first day of the month, but only briefly, and not enough for many, if any, schools to cancel — which, given our area, shows just how little it was. If that's the only snow we get, I will not complain. (On the other hand, if we do get more snow, I'd like just enough that I get a day off of work, please and thank you very much.)
  • Oh! I did more embroidery! February is National Embroidery Month, so I decided to try my hand at embroidering script, since I want to eventually create some pieces using song lyrics and book references. The pattern I used is neither a song lyric nor a book reference, however, because I wanted to make sure my first attempt was with something that an expert had already tested and knew could turn out well. I'm pleased with the end result (pictured at the start of this section); I just have to wash out the stabilizer and figure out what I want to do with it now. I'm hoping to do something that can be hung or displayed, but I'm not sure I left quite enough on the edges to keep in a hoop long-term. I'll figure something out, though.

March Plans

  • March is shaping up to be another busy month, that much is certain.
  • On the upside, my sister will be home for part of it! Only for a week — for spring break — but I'm excited to see her again.
  • I would like to finish the Semi-Secret Selkie Project in March; at the very least, I need to be mostly done with it by the end of the month. It's kind of looking like it might be longer than I originally intended it to be. (Whoops . . .) And, of course, I'll still have D&D writing to do.
  • Work will also be busy because Easter is coming, and that always has a host of associated events and activities. It should be less stressful than last year, though, since I won't have fourteen banners and a devotional book to design and either make or order! (That's not a complaint; it was an exciting project, and I liked getting to apply my book design skills. But it was a lot at times.)
  • On the reading front, the second Miss Dark book is coming soon, and I'm on the list for an ARC — very excited for that! Otherwise, I'll either continue playing catch up or get distracted by rereading Lockwood & Co because half my internet social circles are talking about the new show and, in so doing, both rousing my curiosity and making me miss the characters. I don't have Netflix (and also don't have time to add ANOTHER show), so rereading the books may be my best option. Oh, and I acquired more Brother Cadfael Chronicles, so I may read some of those. We'll see.
  • That should be everything worth mentioning. I have some other plans regarding baking and a few thoughts about what craft project I want to work on, and, of course, the Big Thing continues, but this post is long enough as it is, so I'll leave things where they are.

How was your February? Anything you're looking forward to in March? Are you ready for spring? Have you ever had the experience of enjoying a book less (or more) than usual because of what you read directly before it? Do you think The Last Battle can be a comfort read? Please tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!